LSE LSE Research Laboratory LSE
LSE Research Laboratory (RLAB)

Abstract for:

The Size Distribution Across All 'Cities': A Unifying Approach

Kristian  Giesen,  Jens  Suedekum,  December 2012
Paper No' SERCDP0122: | Full paper (pdf)
Save Reference as: BibTeX BibTeX File | Endote EndNote Import File
Keywords: Zipf's law; Gibrat's law, city size distributions, city age, DPLN distribution

JEL Classification: R11; R12

Is hard copy/paper copy available? YES - Paper Copy Still In Print.
This Paper is published under the following series: SERC Discussion Papers
Share this page: Google Bookmarks Google Bookmarks | Facebook Facebook | Twitter Twitter


Older cities in the US tend to be larger than younger ones. The distribution of city sizes is, therefore, systematically related to the country's city age distribution. We introduce endogenous city creation into a dynamic economic model of an urban system. All cities exhibit the same long-run growth rate (Gibrat's law), but young cities initially grow faster. The double Pareto lognormal (DPLN) emerges as the city size distribution in our model. The DPLN unifies the lognormal and the Pareto distribution (Zipf's law), and closely fits US city size data. This evidence can potentially resolve several debates from the recent literature.